Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mother of Pearl, dem's big oysters!!!

Oysters, you either love them or you hate them.  I fall into the latter, but it never prevented me from delivering them to my customers. I had the luxury of being able to experience the West Coast variety(way bigger) and the East Coast variety(it is OK, you still matter). Either way to me, they are ickkkk. But because I believe in the democratic process.  I will give you the rest of the story.
Aphrodisiac....hmm there is a root there?  Aphrodite perhaps?  There is a painting of the mighty Aphrodite,the Greek Goddess of Love, springing forth on a ? I say.... "What is an oyster shell for $200?, Alex"? Oysters have been around for EVER.....the Greeks served them with wine and the Romans were so excited about these mollusks that they sent slaves to the shores to gather them.
Oysters, surprisingly breathe like fish.  With gills and a mantle, a mantle being thin-walled blood vessels that take oxygen from the water and give off carbon dioxide. There is actually a three chambered heart that lies under the muscle that holds the oyster to its shell, called the abductor muscle. This pumps blood and oxygen to all parts of the oyster.  Now when I say blood, I mean oyster blood. If that was not amazing enough, there are kidneys on the underside of the abductor muscle that purify the blood of any waste it has collected.
Oysters can in their lifetime change sex once or twice, they possess both male and female characteristics.  From what I have heard,  oysters are delicious but did you know that oysters pack a hefty nutritional punch?  They are rich in protein, carbohydrates and  lipids, also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Like fine wine oysters have a diverse following and differ from which the region they are harvested from.  Salinity and mineral differences in the water can affect the flavor. In the United States, oysters are popular in their raw form at "raw bars"where customers can order "shooters" in a variety of different ways.
Like all shellfish that you buy in the supermarket, it is uber important that it alive. The shell should be tightly shut, or when tapped on the counter, shut promptly. Avoid shellfish that are open and smell of sewerage, it's dead. Since they are alive, let's be gentle with them.  When you get them home, rinse them off and wrap them in a dampened paper towel and refrigerate until you are ready to use .
There are two ways to deal with the little buggers from here, one you can shuck and eat however you want, just don't tell me about it.  Two, you can cook them, most often times with shellfish you add heat and poof, open sesame...
I leave you with a little story about the oyster:
"There once was an oyster whose story I tell, Who found that some sand got into his shell. It was only a grain, but it gave him great pain For oysters have feelings although they're so plain. Now, did he berate the harsh workings of fate that brought him to such a deplorable state? Did he curse at the government,cry for election, And claim that the sea should have given him protection? No-he said to himself as he lay on a shell, Since I cannot remove it I shall try to improve it. Now the years have rolled around, as the years always do. And he came to his ultimate destiny: stew. And the small grain of sand that had bothered him so Was a beautiful pearl all richly aglow. Now the tale had a moral, for isn't it grand What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand? What couldn't we do if we'd only begin with some of the things that get under our skin." ~ "The Oyster" written by "Anonymous.

" I have never cared much for fish-it floats in the belly as much as in the pond."~Erica Eisdorfer, The Wet Nurse's Tale, 2009


chefktakei said...

The Food and Drug Administration is stepping up efforts to keep contaminated fish, oysters and other seafood off grocery store shelves, as the gulf oil spill continues to spread through fishing hot spots and oyster beds.

Already, the spill has taken a serious toll on some of the region's food suppliers. As AOL News reported last week, the nation's oldest oyster shucking house, in New Orleans' French Quarter, has closed its doors.

"This is our last day," owner Al Sunseri told WRNO News. "I don't have any prospects to get any oysters -- they closed one of the main areas where we get our oysters from."

The FDA will zero in on oysters to determine the extent of the oil spill's impact on our food. The mollusks are immobile and feed by filtering particles out of water -- meaning they absorb a hefty dose of contaminants.

And while states have already closed off key locations to fishing, the FDA is trying to ensure that seafood processors verify ship records and speak directly to fishermen, to be sure they aren't sourcing potentially dangerous products.

"If you haven't thought about the spill and the need to control this, then you need to do it," the FDA's Don Kraemer told NPR.

Meanwhile, the NOAA continues its chemical analysis of fish and shrimp found in the region, and releasing fishing area closure announcements based on the location of the oil and its expected trajectory.

And as regulatory agencies maintain rigorous evaluations, around 70 percent of the coastline remains open, and seafood suppliers and restaurants in affected areas have told AOL News that their food is safe to eat.

"All of us involved in supplying gulf seafood are getting our asses kicked because some people don't believe that we're still in business down here," said Robbie Walker, owner of the Louisiana Seafood Exchange. "We need consumers to understand and believe that we're delivering a safe, quality product, because we are."

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